I am Miroslav Klose

The football world cup has been interesting to casually observe. Other than playing socially, football has never enthralled me. Now with the world cup I think I finally understand why it attracts so many people as fans and spectators.

The skills of the premiere players are quite remarkable, but importantly games can go ‘any way’ and more so than most of the other major codes. This is also why England’s FA cup works- the underdog really can go all the way – and not infrequently they do.

What continues to attract me to sports however is the mental edge. Belief in ‘superiority’ has as much to do with a players/teams conquest as their skills. Golf is a classic illustration of this, and cricket is not far behind (strangely I have little patience for either as a player).

The Football World Cup demonstrates the mental set-up of underdog (nothing to lose) vs favourite (everything to lose), and in part this explains New Zealand’s ‘success’’ (well we didn’t lose).

So here is my punt for the future:

Any small country can produce top quality sports people and top quality teams and in any code. A country of 4 million can compete with a country of 400 million.
The professional sports platform has meant boundaries are no longer confined and a player base of only a few thousand in any country should be sufficient to get anyone off the ground and into the stratosphere in any code.
There is nothing to support that any one country has some pre-destined or hereditary right to having a distinct mental and physical edge over another. It is simply the application, discipline and belief that gets them across the line.

So sports competitions will become more global and more competitive for two reasons

    1. commercial, and
    2. the realisation of individuals that it matters not where you are brought up

What has this got to do with leadership?

    • Hone your mental edge, don’t rely just on functional/tactical skills.
    • The boundaries of leadership are changing. Don’t assume what’s defended you in the past will protect you in the future.
    • Seize the opportunity to think global, if you or your products can thrive here you can thrive anywhere. Don’t limit yourself.

Global Warming – the wrong argument

Franz Josef Glacier, NZ
For a ‘greenie’ I am incredibly unsupportive of the global warming movement and ETS etc.


Simply because I feel it is the wrong argument.

As any ethicist or theoretician will tell you – it is easier to prove what exists than what doesn’t. The proof of the cause of global warming will always be elusive despite the slick presentations of Al Gore and others -there are just too many variables.

For my mind the campaign should be based on two things we can prove:

• As a race we use and engage in a lot of stuff we don’t need to, and

• The resources we consume to produce those goods or services are not used wisely

The current ploys are based largely on fear and bludgeoning, not very 21st century at all.

How much more progress would we make if the focus was on educating people about proper use and alternatives, and educating industry about production and scarcity? No one could argue with either platform, and the academics might be engaged in practical science rather than speculation in the guise of science. Further this would mean we don’t automatically penalise emerging economies and create artificial and somewhat cynical trade barriers.

Of course Global Warming is not alone in this. We often find ourselves campaigning on the wrong road because we didn’t check the alternatives, or we just did what everyone else seemed to be doing. James Surowiecki’s book the The Wisdom of Crowds provides great insight to this phenomenon.

How can we avoid the trap of the wrong argument?

Clearly there will be many alternatives but some thoughts to get you started:

  • If the program isn’t paying dividends go back to the drawing board.
  • If the solution isn’t obvious, maybe you’ve asked the wrong question.
  • If your staff turnover is high, I’ll tell you now it is not the staff who are at fault.
  • Do you cut costs or increase revenue? (The answer is both but many try to only cut costs).

    Check your reasoning and make sure you’re having the right arguments.

No thank-queue

The Ghost of customers past

Ever been pleased to be in line?

Not likely.

Hospital surgery waiting lists are a rare example where queues have a benefit – in this case priority treatment, though renaming them ordering lists may be appropriate.

Ironically the most obvious example of frustrating queues is the doctors’ surgery.

For example – If a patient at the doctors is kept waiting for 10 minutes and this continues throughout the day (4 patients an hour for 8 hours), this totals 5 hours and 20 minutes of client waiting time , daily per doctor.

No wonder we are called Patients!

It’s easy to fall into the trap of giving extra time to clients when you think you have a bit to spare, but the point is – you don’t – and certainly your ‘other’ clients don’t!

The twist is – the problem is often phasing (you got behind once) not supply (Doctors) or demand (Patients).

Re-modelling the doctors’ surgery;

You ensure the first client finishes on time, the next client is quick saving you 5 minutes, the third client who could do with a bit more got 20 minutes as you got underway early, you still finish on time.

And so it goes; at the end of the day probably everyone got what they wanted, got what they needed and many will be delighted, no-one actually waited for their appointment.

It’s the same practice, clients, length of day; just a truly customer centric model. I’d go back to this one and tell my friends.

Where is the waiting room in your company?

• Unanswered phones?
• Orders not fulfilled or taken?
• Calls not returned?
• Queues?
• Appointments not honoured?
• Customers waiting for an update?
• Customers who don’t know you care?

Find your bottlenecks. Address them and you may well create a supply and demand problem!

The remedy is seldom as difficult as you think.


Innovation or exclusion?

In a recent discussion I was asked how I harness innovation.

My immediate thought – How long is infinity?

A quick internet search shows many countries and many companies claiming to have the upper hand in this domain. For example Periora Innovation has an interesting article targeted for small to medium enterprises, which reflects much of the thinking out there:

• A better-informed team
• A rewarded team
• A better-informed customer
• A high-tech (college) partner

An original original
This ‘systematic ’ approach helps close a loop, for me though this is too stiff.

Business has only two functions – Marketing and Innovation
Peter Drucker

Many articles also talked about the difference with Creative’s, how to manage Geeks for the best return etc. – and here is the central point of this blog –

Everyone has an inner geek, a lingering creative, an innovator par excellence; and as leaders it’s your job to find it and keep it alive.

Supporting Innovation isn’t a separate part of the role it is an integral part of your role.

As leaders we must believe and acknowledge that innovation and creativity lurks in everyone. It is not the exclusive domain of the gifted, the super-intelligent or the ones with the brightest colours or the fastest computer.

If you had 200 employees will you progress further by each making a small innovation, a small gain, or by placing all your bets on the ‘smart ones’?

Allowing innovation to come through is about all the little things, about your agility as a leader and an organisation, about how you listen, and how you respond.

The devil doesn’t need an advocate. The brave need supporters, not critics.
Seth Godin Creativity

What processes and practices in your company suppress innovation by unintentionally sidelining the myriad of champions in the cheaper seats?

What can we do to encourage the ‘meek’ to be brave?